Great Lakes limestone trade affected by dredging crisis

News – September 12, 2008

Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4.4 million net tons in August. While the total represents an increase of 12 per cent compared to a year ago, shipments in August of 2007 were sluggish, said the Lake Carriers’ Association.

“The five-year average is the better barometer,” said the Association, “and in that regard, this August was off the pace by nearly 100,000 tons.”

Although water levels have risen, the dredging crisis continued to limit the amount of stone vessels could deliver to customers.

The largest cargo, 34,024 tons, was still about 600 tons less than the vessel has carried at other times.

“Other vessels’ payloads reflected that some ports are in desperate need of dredging,” said the Association in a statement.

Ships that were delivering 26,000 tons or more each trip to Lake Michigan destinations trimmed their loads by 3,000 tons when destined for certain ports on the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio.

For the year, the Lakes stone trade stands at 20.4 million tons, a slight decrease from the same point in 2007, but almost 2 million tons behind the 5-year average for the January-August timeframe.

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